Debunking dementia myths

Debunking dementia myths

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Australia is facing a dementia epidemic each week in Australia there are 1800 new cases of dementia and this is expected to grow to 7400 new cases each week by 2050 dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia yet there are still many misconceptions about the disease both in the community and amongst medical professionals dementia is an umbrella term for a number of neurocognitive conditions of which the major symptom is a serious
00:39
global decline in brain function there are over a hundred diseases that may cause dementia the most common and well-known of the debentures is Alzheimer's disease other forms of dementia include dementia with Lewy bodies vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia the latest diagnostic criteria the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for mental disorders or dsm-5 classifies the neurocognitive disorders or NCD for short as either
01:11
major which includes dementia or minor the dsm-5 details six cognitive domains that may be affected in both minor and major NCD complex attention executive function learning and memory language perceptual motor function and social cognition most people with dementia are older but not all older people will develop dementia it is not a normal part of Aging it is a terminal progressive
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disease age is the greatest risk factor for dementia with prevalence increasing exponentially after the age of 65 75 percent of people with dementia are aged over 75 the dementia can also occur in younger people even people in their 30s and 40s a diagnosis of dementia in a person under the age of 65 is known as younger onset dementia currently in Australia an estimated 25,000 people
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under 65 are living with dementia other risk factors for dementia include genetics and brain injury as well as modifiable risk factors including education high cholesterol diabetes hypertension cardiovascular disease smoking depression physical inactivity and obesity it can be difficult to distinguish between the slowing of cognitive processes that occurs with normal aging and the early signs of
02:48
dementia but cognitive decline that affects daily function should not be dismissed as normal aging and warrants further investigation ongoing support is vital for people living with dementia as a GP or practice nurse you're in an ideal position to empower your patients and their families by providing them with relevant information that helps them to better understand and manage the condition both now and into the future you play a
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critical role in facilitating access to pharmacological therapies most of which are available through the PBS or the equivalent Veterans Affairs scheme as well as referring them on to non pharmacological interventions including psychological support behavioral management and environmental therapies these therapies can include CBT psychotherapy and even music art and pet therapy practice nurses in particular can spend more time with their patients
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and their families discussing relevant services and support programs in the local community and online let your patients know about the support and information services available from Alzheimer's Australia the dementia behavior management advisory service and other aged care and community-based organizations whilst there are neither cures nor disease modifiers yet there are effective symptomatic pharmacological treatments available for people with
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dementia these treatments can effectively slow the progression and ameliorate the symptoms of the disease in some people medications can be most effective in the early stages of dementia making timely diagnosis important and beneficial for patients there are different medications and treatment regimes for different types of dementia and research is progressing rapidly more information about medication and non pharmacological therapies can be found in our video
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series and on our website some GPS report that by providing a dementia diagnosis they will damage the patient-doctor relationship and cause unnecessary harm and anxiety in the patient and the family dementia does not begin when the patient can no longer look after themselves and neither should the diagnosis and treatment there are many documented benefits of diagnosing and managing dementia from the point where symptoms
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begin to present many people with dementia report feeling a sense of relief that the cause of their difficulties is identified it also increases the patient's sense of independence enabling them to play more of a active role in planning for their future from medical legal financial and life planning perspectives early detection also gives people a better chance of benefiting from more timely treatment as well as more streamlined access to the available
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support education and information this will most likely lead to reduced stress and anxiety amongst patients and their families and carers and can potentially delay the onset of more severe symptoms for some people this can mean they're able to live at home for longer the role of general practice in dementia detection diagnosis ongoing management and here is pivotal to learn more go to fight dementia dot org dot au slash
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support and services slash health professionals

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